Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Pelosi Attack: Violence Far More Prevalent on Right Side of Political Spectrum, Though Republicans Want to Deny This

Hammer photo uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by Malene Thyssen

Jill Filipovic notes the prevalence of violence emanating from the political right as opposed to the left, and explains why this is the case:

[I]n terms of sheer numbers, rightwing violence is a much more significant problem than leftwing violence.

That may be, in part, because of the right wing’s broad permission structure when it comes to unchecked misogyny, threatening and menacing political opponents, and refusing to forcefully condemn violent acts. ...

There is a pattern here that you just don’t see on the left: the fetishization of deadly weapons; violence against women that goes unpunished by the party and its supporters; the kind of troubling conspiracy theories that are catnip for crazies and that demand extreme action in response; and the fantasizing about murdering one’s political opponents, all tossed into the cauldron together.

Max Boot seconds Filipovic's point about violence emanating far more from the right than the left, though Republicans refuse to admit this:

It should not be controversial to say that America has a major problem with right-wing political violence. The evidence continues to accumulate — yet the GOP continues to deny responsibility for this horrifying trend. 

Heather Cox Richardson points to January 6 in light of DePape's attack on Pelosi: 

The parallels between DePape’s rhetoric and plans and the January 6th attack on the Capitol—right down to the zip ties and the references to the American Revolution—have made Republicans desperate to spin the deadly attack as a reflection of political violence on both sides of the aisle, of the general violence they insist is happening in the cities, or—appallingly and without evidence—of a gay tryst gone bad. Others have tried to turn an assault on the husband of the Speaker of the House, the second in line for the presidency, in an attempt to get at her, into fodder for jokes. Conservative commentator Tom Nichols tweeted that the moment “feels like a turning point…. [I]f we’re not going to ostracize people who are yukking it up over taking a hammer to a man in his 80s, then we’re a different society.” 

Chris Lehmann focuses on the typical Republican tactic of downplaying or denying violence coming from its side:  

The typical Republican tactic is to downplay or deny the threats of violence within the conservative movement—and in some cases, to fold them into the broader churn of free-form conspiracy-mongering, as we’re already seeing in the wake of the Pelosi attack. “We saw that happen after January 6, with Ray Epps, the guy that they’re now claiming was a fed,” Gais adds. “They don’t want to deal with the consequences of their actions. They want the benefits of street actions and political violence, but they don’t want to deal with the consequences of where that goes.” 

Ditto Alex Shephard

[R]ight-wingers at all levels of government and throughout their extensive media network are hard at work concocting and promoting insane conspiracy theories to absolve themselves of any complicity in this country’s worsening scourge of political violence.

Matthew Dallek notes how a movement that begins with the slogan "Government is the problem" can end up in violent acts directed at political opponents: 

The Reagan-era “government is the problem” language and ideology has been transformed into a philosophy that casts the government as not just a problem but as evil, a threat to the values MAGA supporters hold dear. Under Mr. Trump’s leadership, groups on the right have felt increasingly comfortable incubating, encouraging and carrying out violence.

The consistency of the rhetoric (“enemy of the people”; “Our house is on fire”; “You’re not going to have a country anymore”; “the greatest theft in the history of America”; “Where’s Nancy?”) has ingrained dehumanization of Republican opponents in parts of the political culture; conservatives have often painted their critics as enemies who must be annihilated before they destroy you.

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